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Plant Explosion Possible Cause of Diaper Shortage in Japan

Can they recover from this shortage

Apr 1 2014, 3:13pm CDT | by

Plant Explosion Possible Cause of Diaper Shortage in Japan

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As so often happens, moms are left to deal with the mess.

ABC News reports: An explosion at a Japanese chemical plant this weekend has the spectre of a global diaper shortage.

The plant in the coastal city of Himeji, operated by Nippon Shokubai Co., is one of the world’s largest producers of acrylic acid, a primary ingredient used in disposable diapers. Powerful blasts rocked the facility Saturday, as firefighters were trying to control a blaze at one of the tanks containing the chemical. One firefighter died and 34 employees and first responders were injured in the blast.

Acrylic acid is a key component of superabsorbent polymers or SAP, which absorb large amounts of liquid. Nippon Shokubai makes roughly 20 percent of the world’s SAP and maintains a 10 percent global market share of acrylic acid. The plant had been ramping up production to meet increasing global demand, especially from China, according to Japanese media reports. Prior to the accident, the plant in the Hyogo Prefecture manufactured 460,000 tons of acrylic acid annually, supplying clients like Procter and Gamble, which relied on Nippon Shokubai for products it sold in Asia.

Roughly 4 million tons of acrylic acid are produced in the world, with the largest manufacturers in Germany and the U.S., according to Nippon Shokubai spokesman Akira Kurusu. Kurusu said the company had already reached out to other producers to make sure their clients’ needs are met, but said he could not comment on whether the plant closure in Japan would affect global costs and supply.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/4" rel="author">Susan McGlaun</a>
Susan is the editor of the shopping guide on I4U News. She is finding for our readers the best deals and the most interesting products to buy. She lives for finding a great deal that can save our readers serious money. For every season Susan is reporting about the best gift ideas including Back-to-School and of course the Holidays.
Susan can be contacted directly at susan@i4u.com.

 

 

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